Ladakh: Stok to Shang Trek

  • Duration
    14 Days
  • Region
  • Category
  • Best Time
    • June - October


Trek Grade: Easy to Moderate

Flying across the Himalayas, the Great Himalayan Divide and the Pir Panjal ranges of Ladakh with views of the Eastern Karakorams before landing at Leh, experience possibly one of the world’s most spectacular flying experiences. Land at the quaint though now fairly bustling township of Leh and take rest for the day to acclimitise to an altitude of 3,500 meters.

This is a beautiful trek starting from Stok Village, under the shadows of the Mounts Stok Kangri (6,070 Meters), Matho Kangri (6,000 Meters) and Golep Kangri (5,950 Meters), crossing the Matho La pass (4,878 Meters) and the Shang La (4,945 Meters). Situated along the Pir Panjal mountains just South of Leh city and the Indus Valley, both the starting and ending roadheads of the trail are not far from the city and the valley. The trail starts with the Stok Village where the palace of the erst-while rulers of Ladakh is located and ends in the village of Shang. In between we cross along with high passes with spectacular views, deep river gorges which offer amazing topography.

The two high passes give a great view of the towering Stok Kangri and the Golep Kangri peaks and the surrounding valleys. In the late season when heavy snows have still not come down and if one is really lucky, snow leopards, ibex and mountain goats can be seen here along with, marmots and many kinds of Himalayan birds.

For sightseeing from Leh in the Indus Valley visit the Shey Gompa, Thiksey Gompa, Hemis Gompa and the Alchi Gompa famous for beautiful Buddhist murals and paintings. In Delhi before leaving for Ladakh, visit the famous monuments like Qutab Minar, India Gate and Jama Masjid. On return from Leh there is an optional excursion to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra.

Destinations Covered

Detailed Itinerary



    After clearing Customs and Immigration, step into the receiving area, where our representative will meet you and escort you to the hotel.

    On arrival, check into the hotel.

    Overnight at hotel (No Meals)

  2. Day 2 DELHI


    Delhi is a dynamic city where the past coexists with the present. While historic evidence shows that the area around Delhi was first occupied around 2,500 years ago, Hindu mythology predates that by another 500 years. The British captured the city in 1803 and when they decided to make it the capital of India in 1911, they commissioned Sir Edwin Lutyens to draw up the plans. The result is slightly surprising with spacious tree-lined avenues punctuated with architecture which is among the most striking in the world.

    On the tour of “Old Delhi,” you will head out to explore this exotic locale with its narrow dirt roads, myriads of people and inexpensive and colorful bazaars that keep alive the traditional workmanship for which Delhi has always been famous. Drive past Red Fort and visit the Jama Masjid, one of the largest Muslim mosques in India. A bicycle rickshaw will take you into the heart of Chandni Chowk (the silver square - so named because of the silver merchants).

    Drive past India Gate, a 42-metre archway built in memory of Indian soldiers killed during the First World War and Rashtrapati Bhawan, built in the early 20th century as the Imperial residence of the Viceroy. Today, it is the official residence of the President of India.

    Thereafter, visit the most prominent Sikh Gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship, in Delhi. It was originally a bungalow belonging to Raja Jai Singh, a 17th century Indian ruler. It is open to people of all faiths, castes or creeds. The premises house a sacred pond in which devotees bathe. They believe that this would wash off their misdeeds and thus allow them to attain peace of mind. The 'Langars' or the community kitchen proves to be the ideal example of prodigious hospitality of the Sikhs. Anyone and everyone can have scrumptious meal irrespective of caste, color or class.

    Conclude the day by visiting the Delhi's most striking monument, The Qutub Minar, which looms majestically across the wide plains of Delhi, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was constructed in 1192 by Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak. Built in red sandstone and marble, it has a height of 72.5 meters (237.8 ft) and contains 379 stairs. A Soaring conical tower, it is an exquisite example of Indo-Islamic Afghan architecture and is the tallest minaret in India.

    Overnight at hotel (B)

  3. Day 3 FLY DELHI – LEH (GoAir Flight # G8-221 Delhi/Leh ETD: 09:10/ETA: 10:30 Hrs.)

    Leh Ladakh

    After breakfast, transfer to Delhi airport to board your flight to Leh.

    You arrive at Leh airport, step into the receiving area where you will be met by our representative and drive to hotel.

    Rest of the day for acclimatization through rest.

    Overnight at hotel (B, D)

  4. Day 4 LEH

    Leh Ladakh

    After breakfast explore some of Ladakh's ancient gompas. A picnic lunch is provided.

    Shey Palace was built in 1645 by Deldan Namgyal as a summer residence for the kings of Ladakh. It is the oldest palace in Ladakh and above the palace is an even older ruined fortress. In 1655, in memory of his father, this same king built the two-storey Shey gompa adjacent to the palace. Hundreds of chortens of all shapes and sizes stand below the palace and Gompa.

    These Chortens demonstrate the interest taken in Shey by the Ladakhi kings and queens who succeeded Shey's original builder. Located on the second storey of the gompa is a large Buddha statue made in 1655 by a Nepalese sculptor who was assisted by three Ladakhi craftsmen. The seated Buddha is 12 meters high and worked of copper sheets gilded with gold. This Buddha is the biggest metal statue in the region and was the largest Buddha statue of any type in Ladakh until Thiksey gompa installed a 15-meter tall Buddha made of clay in 1970. Sacrificial offerings such as grain or jewels, holy signs and mantras are contained inside the figure. In front of the Buddha is a large bowl of wax with a central flame that burns for one year before being replaced. This flame represents divinity and purity and is present in front of all Buddha statues.

    Thiksey Gompa is the most picturesquely situated monastery in Ladakh, perched high on a hill above the Indus. Its buildings are arranged at various levels, leading up to the private apartments of the incarnate lamas on the summit. From here one commands a magnificent view of the valley. The gompa possesses a rich and beautiful collection of hundreds of hand-written or painted prayer books.

    A new temple contains a 15-meter tall Buddha statue, constructed in 1970 to commemorate a visit to Thiksey by the Dalai Lama. The statue, made of clay and covered with gold paint, is the largest Buddha figure in Ladakh and took four years to construct. Inside, the statue is filled with the Kandshur and the Tandshur - volumes of Buddhist canonical texts. The statue was made entirely by local craftsmen and represents Maitreya, ("compassion" in Sanskrit) the Buddha of the Future. The prophecy made of the Future Buddha is that the world will be undergoing such chaos that He will teach compassion to the people.

    Hemis Gompa is one of the most important in Ladakh, the largest and also the wealthiest. The king-architect Singe Namgyal, a great patron of Buddhism, built it in 1620. He filled Hemis with golden statues, stupas set with precious stones and thangkhas brought from many places, including Tibet.

    The lamas of Hemis were associated with the Ladakhi royal family and became quite prosperous, owning much land and supervising many smaller, scattered monasteries. Although only about a dozen lamas actually live here, Hemis has several hundred lamas attached to its subsidiary monasteries.

    The Rimpoche or spiritual head of Hemis is a reincarnation of the monastery's founder Stagtshang Raspa. The last Rimpoche was a reincarnation who, as a five-year old child, was being taught in Tibet when the Chinese invaded. There has been no communication with the Rimpoche since the 1960s. During the 1975 festival, Drugpa Rimpoche, a 12-year old youth, became the new Rimpoche as a new incarnation.

    Return to the Hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

    Overnight at hotel (B, D)


    Leh Ladakh

    After breakfast, drive to Alchi and visit Alchi monastery, a Buddhist monastery, known as monastic complex (chos-'khor) of temples is Ladakh’s most valuable heritage. Alchi monastery is a Buddhist worshipping place and study centre and is managed by the monks of Likir. The monastery was built, according to local tradition, by the great translator Guru Rinchen Zangpo between 958AD and 1055AD. The building is said to have been built during the 11th century and the architecture of the place is also excellent. Thereafter proceed to the Likir Monastrey. The Likir Monastery or gompa is one of the oldest and well maintained monasteries in Ladakh district in India’s northernmost state, Jammu and Kashmir. The monastery is located in Likir village is believed to have been in existence since 11th century. The original name of Likir monastery is Klu-kkhyil gompa.

    Visit Gurdwara Pathar Sahib, Gurdwara Pathar Sahib, is a beautiful Gurdwara Sahib constructed in the memory of Guru Nanak, constructed 12000 ft. above sea level. Today the site and the Gurdwara are revered by both the local Lamas and Sikh community.

    Hall of Fame is a proud displayer of Indian Army simultaneously acts as the symbol of those dark days of India’s war against Pakistan. The museum that showcases seized arms and weapons of Pakistan army is located in Ladakh, the paradise of adventure lovers lying in the beautiful Himalayas.

    Overnight at hotel (B, D)

  6. Day 6 LEH

    Leh Ladakh

    Acclimatization walks around Leh and visit the bazaar and the Shanti Stupa for enjoying a spectacular view of the Indus Valley with the Mount Stok Kangri standing majestically across the Indus River.

    Overnight at hotel (B, D)



    After breakfast, A 45 -minute drive gets you to roadhead at Stok, from where the trek begins. The trail goes through the village and, keeping to the true left bank of the Stok Nala, climbs gradually for an hour past fields of barley, enclosed gardens and a few apricot orchards, to the head of the alluvial plain where it enters the gorge of the stream. The trail is well worn, used for the summer movement of cattle and sheep to the higher pastures and by donkey and dzo columns carrying food and other supplies between the camps and the villages.

    About three hours into the day's walk, where a spur forces the river to take a sharp turn, pass the jagged ruins of the Staklang Khar fort, supposedly dating back to the 13th or 14th century, which dominates the upper part of the gorge. At its base is a thick grove of willow which serves as a pleasant spot for lunch. From here the trail climbs steeply for a short distance to a saddle called Ton Ton, with its ritual cairn of rocks, decked with prayer flags and topped with the skulls and horns of Bharal (blue sheep which is more of a goat-antelope) are common in this area. From here it drops down to the stony bed of the river and continues upstream, past the summer camp or doksa of Chortenthang to below another doksa at Mankyurmo, where camp is set for the night.

    Overnight at Camp (B, L, D)

  8. Day 8 MANKYURMO TO GYANGPOCHE (13,590 FT/4,080 M) OVER MATHO LA (16,090 FT/4,878 M) - 4 TO 5 HOURS


    Leaving Mankyurmo, the trail crosses a stream to the doksa of Jurles, the stone huts piled high with drying Caragana, Linicera and Acantholimon bushes, used for fuel. In mid summer even the driest parts of this area have tiny flowers and flowering bushes and in the meadows where water is close to the surface, bright patterns of yellow, pink and blue can be seen.

    The climb up to Matho La is extremely strenuous and at the top, travellers are often greeted by the high wild cry of the Snowcock, a giant partridge common in these parts but difficult to see. The initial descent to the plain of the Upper Matho valley is steep. At the end the trail crosses a couple of streams and camp is set near Gyangpoche doksa. The pasturage of the Upper Matho is a huge area bisected by streams, dotted with doksas, many hidden amongst the dips and rises of the sharply uneven plain. To the south it climbs to the foot of the ice-clad bastion formed by Matho Kangri peak and its consorts.

    The plain is full of life; white-tailed hares abound and whole colonies of Himalayan marmots can be seen sunning themselves outside their burrows, trilling sharply in alarm as they catch sight of a Golden eagle circling on dihedral wings or the menacing bulk of a Bearded vulture held aloft on its nine-foot spread. The lucky may catch a glimpse of a wolf or the track of a snow leopard imprinted in wet ground - evidence of the presence of this most elusive of cats. Overnight camping.

    Overnight at Camp (B, L, D)

  9. Day 9 GYANGPOCHE TO BASE OF SHANG LA (14,200 FT/4,300 M) - 6 HOURS

    Base Of Shang La

    The first part of the day's walk goes eastwards across the plain, to the edge of the pastures. In this area a large number of streams, rising in the snowfields of the Stok Matho range, have gouged deep valleys as they flow north and converge to form the Matho river. The trail descends to the bottom of one such valley and it takes over two hours to reach the stream which has to be forded. The trail then winds up the opposite hill, a long torturous climb of 2 to 3 hours to the top through dry terrain with very little vegetation in this maroon-hued wilderness of shale, rock and sand. Camp is set on the bank of another stream which eventually meets the main Matho Nala and the descent is fairly steep, though not long. Overnight camping.

    Overnight at Camp (B, L, D)

  10. Day 10 SHANG LA BASE TO SHANG PHU (13,900 FT/4,174 M) OVER SHANG LA (16,320 FT/4,945 M)

    Shang Phu

    Crossing the stream, the trail climbs up the opposite hill past a number of small doksas. Three to four hours of steady walking through relatively barren country leads to Shang La which links the Matho valley with the Shang valley. From here the view to the south is spectacular. A gradual descent leads to a small stream and the trail from the head of the valley down its true right bank, through dense scrub vegetation, is one of the loveliest parts of this trek. The spring-fed stream forms clear deep pools along its course and flows into the main Shang stream, a valley away to the right. Camp is set on the tongue of land formed at the confluence or, after crossing the small stream, on its true left bank.

    Overnight at Camp (B, L, D)


    Leh Ladakh

    The trail goes through the lovely small village of Shang some two hours after leaving camp. Perched high above to the left of the trail is the old gompa dominating this valley with its stone fences and complex braided irrigation system. The new monastery of Shang where most of the monks live is an hour and a half away and with its extensive grove of poplars, is an ideal lunch spot. Vehicles await here for the two-hour drive to the city of Leh.

    Overnight at hotel (B, D)

  12. Day 12 FLY TO DELHI (INDIGO FLIGHT # 6E-6003 LEH/DELHI ETD: 11:45/ETA: 13:20 Hrs.)


    After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Leh Airport in time to fly to Delhi.

    Arrive Delhi, you will be transferred to the hotel.

    Overnight at hotel (B)



    This is a day that is kept as a buffer day in case the mountain flight from Kullu to Delhi is cancelled due to bad weather and one needs to undertake a surface transport to reach Delhi. However, if the flight does operate then an optional excursion can be taken to visit the Taj Mahal at Agra or, an additional optional sightseeing of Delhi can be taken to explore the city a little more.

    Full day at leisure or you have an option for Agra excursion.

    (Optional Supplement for Agra Day Excursion by Road: USD 196 Per Person)

    Optional Agra excursion:

    Agra: Agra has a rich historical background, which is amply evident from the numerous historical monuments in and around the city. The earliest reference for Agra comes from the epical age, when Mahabharata referred Agra as Agravana. In the sources prior to this, Agra has been referred as Arya Griha or the abode of the Aryans. The golden age of the city began with the Mughals. Akbar made it the center of art, culture, commerce and learning.

    Later, Agra came to its own when Shahjahan ascended to the throne of Mughal Empire. During the peaceful reign of Shah Jahan, his passion for architecture came to the fore and world-famous architectural masterpieces were constructed. He marked the zenith of Mughal architecture, when he built the Taj in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. However, after the reign of Shah Jahan’s son Aurangzeb (1658-1707), and the gradual disintegration of the empire, the city passed from one invader to another before the British took charge early in the 19th century.

    After breakfast, drive to Agra.

    Visit the imposing Red Fort of Agra (also known as Agra Fort). A creative, architectural, and strategic masterpiece, the Fort is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In a cruel twist, Emperor Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal and whose grandfather built the original Fort and who also assumed the throne himself, was imprisoned here at the end of his life by his own son - in a room looking out on the Taj Mahal across the river.

    Lunch is on your own.

    Explore the Taj Mahal, the greatest monument of love and one of the wonders of the modern world. Completed in 1652, skilled craftsmen from Persia, Turkey, France and Italy and some 20,000 labourers worked for 22 years to build this edifice, constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal.

    Later drive back to Delhi.

    Overnight at hotel (B)

  14. Day 14 DELHI & DEPARTURE


    Early morning check-out from the hotel and transfer to the Airport to connect with the departure International flight.


Ask The Expert

Indicates required field

Personal Information

Booking Information